cover image Mihi Ever After (Mihi Ever After #1)

Mihi Ever After (Mihi Ever After #1)

Tae Keller, illus. by Geraldine Rodríguez. Holt, $16.99 (240p) ISBN 978-1-25081-431-9

Keller (Jennifer Chan Is Not Alone) leans into the power of fairy tales, friendship, and self-acceptance via this quickly paced fantasy. In Massachusetts, Korean American princess fan Mihi Whan Park feels “like a princess, like someone important, someone who mattered, someone who belonged,” but a close friend’s hurtful comment disparaging princess play as “babyish and kind of annoying” leaves her wondering if she will ever be good enough for a fairy tale life. An unexpected portal in the school librarian’s refrigerator allows Mihi and two new friends—Reese, who is Black, and cued-white Savannah—into a magical world peopled with characters from popular European nursery rhymes and fairy tales. At first, the girls are ready for adventure and thrilled about the potential of becoming royalty, but various setbacks soon show the world’s grimmer realities, including restrictive rules for princesshood. And when she and her friends don’t agree on how to react, Mihi must decide whether to prioritize her dreams of princesshood or her hopes for friendship. Familiar elements combine with vivid storytelling and cartoon renderings by Rodríguez (Bella’s Recipe for Success) to underline themes of adventure and self-discovery. Final art not seen by PW. Ages 8–12. Author’s agent: Faye Bender, Book Group. (Nov.)